16 Sept 2015

£103m Gamble: Rodgers rips out Liverpool's spine and dumps 'outstanding' £31m star for Bordeaux

After two damaging defeats in a row, Liverpool urgently need a win on Thursday, and given the club's poor form this season, it makes sense for Rodgers to play his strongest team against Bordeaux. A win will give the Reds great motivation going into this weekend's must-win Premier League clash with Norwich, but it appears that Rodgers has a different approach in mind.

According to TalkSport today:

"Benteke...Milner, Clyne, Skrtel, Lovren and Lucas [Combined cost/worth: £103m**] have been left out of Liverpool's [squad] for Bordeaux".

This is basically the spine of the team, and it shows that Rodgers is not prioritising the Europa League, which is strange considering it's (arguably) Liverpool's best chance of qualifying for the Champions League.

That said, it's not much a spine, is it?

* Lovren and Skrtel started the season well, but it's all gone to the dogs over the last two games, and the duo has reverted to type, with mistakes, positional-errors, and communication problems conspiring to destabilise the defence.

* Milner won't be missed. He's provided nothing going forward so far, and despite his much vaunted stamina/work-rate, he's currently having very little impact defensively. But wait: 'Outstanding' Milner runs an average of £12km a game, so that makes up for the lack of goals, assists, chance-creation, key passes, and leadership...right?

* Clyne is a solid performance, and his absence probably means that Gomez will take his place at right-back, with Moreno coming in on the left. Knowing Rodgers, though, it could be Moreno at right-back.

* Lucas's presence in midfield made a difference against Arsenal, but since then, Liverpool have conceded six goals in two games, which shows that the Brazilian is failing to make the requisite impact.

* Some may argue that resting Benteke is prudent management, but in this case, I disagree. Liverpool are struggling for goals, and after scoring against Man United, I don't see the sense in disrupting the Belgian's momentum.

* Rodgers could use the Bordeaux game to test two up-front, but he'll probably persist with the same failed strategy of playing one up-front, and this time, it'll (probably) be Origi who's isolated.

There's another thing to consider: What if Thursday's team puts in a stonking performance against Bordeaux and comfortably wins the game? Will Rodgers have the cojones to keep the same team, and leave the likes of Skrtel, Lovren et al on the bench for Norwich?

No chance. Even if Liverpool win 9-0 on Thursday, Milner and his underperforming cronies will come straight back in, and the turgid performances will continue.

** Benteke: £32.5m | Milner: £31m contract | Clyne: £12m | Skrtel: £10m-rated | Lovren: £20m | Lucas: £8m-rated


Author: Jaimie K


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